Sunday, June 01, 2008

Warning: Grizzly Bear Alert

The French have no problem calling Americans fat, so much so that during my first visit to France the Frenchman sitting next to me at dinner turned and asked "Are all Americans fat?" The other thing they have no problem with is acting superior because they address problems with diplomacy not brute force. However, if you simply imply that a French woman is fat, be prepared for a beating.

The other day while shopping for greeting cards, I waited my turn while the woman before me spun the card rack round and round. After she left, I stepped up and started looking. Moments later I was joined by a couple. They removed some cards and started reading them. I slowly turned the stand to get a glimpse at the cards on the other side, stretching my neck back as far as possible as to minimize the rotation. This small movement sent the woman into a rage. She grabbed the rack and jerked it back and forth in an exaggerated motion.

Fred politely explained that we were looking at the cards and she claimed in a smart ass tone that she didn't see us. She went on to tell us that we weren't alone in the world. Fred continued to try to reason with her and explain that we were there first and had almost finished, if she could just be patient. She retorted by asking us if we had a receipt to prove we were there first.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked up a card with a big chocolate birthday cake on the cover and interrupted the dialogue by showing Fred the card and saying in French: “Look! Here is a card with a cake on it, she probably wants this one.”

I was completely unprepared for what happened next. She turned bright red, raised her arm, and slapped me with all her force. Then she came at me like a hungry bear. Fred and her husband (him, half-heartedly so) had to hold her back, while she continued to yell and struggled to get free. First, she screamed about my “accent de merde” (accent of shit) - funny, since her husband had an accent too - then she yelled “fuck you” - impressive, when I’m angry I have a really hard time speaking a foreign language - then she reminded me that "this is not America" - ironic, considering she fulfilled the stereotype of what French people claim about Americans - fat and violent.

I was in shock and couldn't stop laughing, which only made her more upset. Fred couldn't let go because if he did, she would have attacked me. Hearing the commotion, the shop owner came outside to see what was happening. He stepped in to calm the beast and hold her back while Fred and I made our get away.

I know I have a big mouth, but I never thought that a 45 year-old rotund French woman would be the one to call me out on it. Firstly, because we're made to believe that fat French woman don't exist and, secondly, I never imagined anyone would ever be able to understand one of my insults in French.

And, yes, I know I probably deserved it.


joy suzanne said...

My god Amy! I'm soooo glad to see a post this story slayed me! You've really got it right--the irony. Fat and violent.

How are you? How's the new job going?

The Late Bloomer said...

Hey there Amy! Long time no hear -- thanks for stopping by my blog and for your sweet words. Hope things are going great on your end and that you're enjoying your job -- as well as the summer so far! When are we ever going to meet up, by the way?! Before or after the Little Bean arrives? ;-)

eeyore said...

god that's funny. i don't know you, and i already love you

Leesa said...

Holy Cow!! Her audacity and what a BIOTCH!! I would have loved to floor her.. I wish there was something here in America where you could press charges for assault!! : ) I am glad you had a good attitude about the whole thing... What a prick she was!!

Anonymous said...

I guess slapping is part of the french culture….

AMERICAN tennis player Jeff Tarango stormed off in the middle of his singles match at Wimbledon yesterday, accusing the umpire of corruption - then his furious wife weighed in, aiming a slap at the official.
Tarango's tantrum followed a disputed ace when he was a set and 2-1 down to Germany's Alexander Mronz. The American's serve was called out, and the umpire, Bruno Rebeuh of France, called a let. Tarango was disgruntled that the call had not been reversed, and complained, to the derision of the slow-handclapping crowd. The spectators taunted the angry player with cries of "Get on with it" and "Go home". Tarango shouted back at them: "Why don't you shut up?"
The umpire promptly penalised him for a code violation, at which Tarango complained: "They can say anything at me but I can't say anything back." He then demanded that the supervisor be called, saying: "I've got a big beef."
When the supervisor suggested that he play on, Tarango refused, and told the umpire: "You are the most corrupt official in the game and you can't do that." He then stalked from the court to jeers from the crowd.
Tarango will undoubtedly be fined for his conduct, which he later admitted was "pretty crazy". But his 30-year-old French wife, Benedicte, was unrepentant when she gatecrashed her husband's press conference after the court drama.
Tanned and chic in a white suit, Mrs Tarango admitted that she had confronted the umpire, and had attempted to slap him. Her voice quivering with anger, she said: "I don't think that's bad. This guy deserved a lesson." Tarango was asked what he thought of his wife's conduct. "She's French," he said. "And I'm still learning the culture."
Later, Tarango went on to make a series of serious allegations about the umpire's past conduct.

Anonymous said...

That's my Amy! Glad to see you are posting again! I laughed so hard green tea is all over my desk at work.

Amy said...

I was completely unprepared for what happened next, too! Too funny.

Anonymous said...

"rotund" my ass. you know she was fat as shit.

love, rotund super-d

Aralena said...

She's back! So glad to see you relating your hilarious stories again. And to see you not taking edgy grizzly woman crap! Wouldn't that be funny/terrifying if you ran into her again?